Good morning! At least its morning here… So I had a nightmare last night… I call it a nightmare because it was one of those dreams where you relive moments in your life… In this case it wasn’t just one moment, it was several moments that seem to continually haunt me… You see as a tournament director, a poker dealer, and a poker player, there is not a game that goes by where I don’t hear phrases being used by players that have absolutely no clue what the phrase actually means. Some of these phrases (like: Pot Odds, Pot Committed, Dead Pot, Dry Pot, Position Betting, Calculated Move, Outs, Percentages, etc.) have actual meaning in the game. They could also have completely different meaning based on the player using them or the time frame they are being used.
So back to my dream… Last night I felt like all of my 15 years of playing this wonderful game came back and kicked me in the face! It was like I was watching flash imagery of the probably 10,000 hands where people utter that hair raising phrase that drives me crazy every time I hear it. Followed by me telling them that there is no validity to their comment… And then it starts all over again… I swear this dream was trying to tell me that I’m wasting my time. I’m not going to break down the wall that I keep smacking my head into…
Now, to the purpose of today’s rant. There is one specific phrase that literally makes me cringe almost every time I hear it… That phrase is, “You’re betting into a dead pot…” Now I have searched far and wide to try and actually find the meaning of “dead pot” and have found nothing. (To back my research here is a link to the “Poker Terms Wiki” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_poker_terms ) The truth is, there is no such thing as a “dead pot”. What has become the understood meaning drives me bonkers! When there is a player “all-in” and has been called by more than one person, without a raise, we should all check down to the river and see who wins! Why don’t we all just roast marshmallows and make s’mores while we’re at it… Blah! We’re here to play poker and accumulate as many chips as possible!
I do understand that you have to eliminate players to win poker tournaments however, the scenario with a player all in and checking it down to the river should only come into play once you’ve eliminated enough people that positioning for the money matters. But don’t call this a “Dead Pot” call it exactly what it is, a money grab. No one will question you, no one will care! (Unless of course you have the literal nuts and are the last to act, in this case if you don’t bet you’ll get the floor called on you and probably get a collusion penalty…)
You will notice in that list of poker terms that there is a term known as “Dry Pot”. It is my belief that this is where the idea of a “Dead Pot” came from. In a dry pot you have a player all-in and have more than one caller but there is no raise. Meaning that no more chips can be placed into the main pot so until there is another bet the side pot is dry. Somewhere back in time, someone saw this as a moment where they could talk themselves into free cards, and started complaining about betting into nothing… (and if you read my last post you should know how I feel about free cards.)You should never expect to get free cards. Every single moment you are in a hand there is a battle going on. The winner of the battle stacks the chips. If you are the guy waving the white flag begging for free cards, I’m going to run you over, and stack the chips.
I hope that you’ve come to understand that I’m not crazy here, and I know that there is supposed to be a fun element to the game of poker. I hope you understand that if you can’t have fun playing cards you probably should be there in the first place, but know this: Winning is fun too! So don’t get mad at me when I am battling for every pot that I’m a part of… There is a good chance that I’m get trying to gain value out of a pot that has presumably very little value in it. This is poker, every move should be calculated. Every game should have a learning experience connected to it. If you want to see free cards stay at home and deal 8 handed theory to yourself. (for the record 8 handed theory is a good way to learn and begin understanding theories and or probabilities.)
Dead Pot means absolutely nothing, so please stop using the term. When they invented Texas Hold’em they established a “Blind Structure”. This establishment was put into place to avoid situations where there would be a dead pot, or a pot with zero value for anyone… since our forefathers thought it a good idea to protect us from our own stupidity, please show the same respect back and don’t reinvent the wheel…
To all of you who stumble upon my little blurb area, welcome and enjoy my rants generally related to poker!
And to get this rolling first let me introduce myself. My name is Les and I co-own an entertainment company specializing in Poker. Texas Hold’em to be more specific. Our company operates mostly in the bar industry, doing private parties from time to time as well.
So the topic of today’s rant: Pre-flop raising.
(Now understand that in no way do I declare that my opinions should be taken as gospel, in fact I can guarantee that there will always be someone who doesn’t agree with me, but the beautiful thing is that this is my page and my rant so my opinion is all that will matter here…)
One of the more annoying things that I hear and deal with are people who get upset, and take offense to people who raise pre-flop. “You know it’s my big blind right?” or “you raised on my big blind!?” are just a couple of the more tame comments I hear as I deal cards to these people…
Understanding that this is just a bar game and by design, our goal is to do everything we can to insure that all the players are having a good time, it becomes difficult when players complain every time someone raises… There is nothing worse dealing to a table with a player or two who do nothing but complain…
Now, it is my opinion that the most important part of betting happens pre-flop. If everyone was allowed to smooth call and see every flop, 7-2 would no longer be considered the worst hand in poker… In fact, hand rating would be completely taken out of the game… Let’s all just ante up and turn our cards over, and see who wins, because as much as these people complain I feel like that’s what they want! There is a strategy to raising pre-flop, first is to weed out all the inferior hands, second is to establish control of the hand. Eliminating players before the flop is shown increases your chances at taking down the pot… Ultimately the goal for anyone who raises, is to minimize your number of opponents in the hand. There’s nothing worse than opening with A-A and knowing they have to stand through eight or nine other players in the hand. Thus we raise with A-A to get the 7-2’s of the world out of the hand.
So when you say “you know it’s my big bling right?” All you’re telling me is that you don’t want to play the game. You want everything handed to you for free… As A player, every time I hear that, all you’re doing is instigating me to do it more regardless of what two cards I have…
My suggestion to all of the people who hate having their big blind raised, forget that your big blind is even out there. At some point it’s every persons big blind, chalk it up to a fee to play that every nine or ten hands you’ll have to pay for. And if you don’t like that thought process the other option is be the one raising. Nothing in life is free, and if you don’t want to pay the price, fold and move on to the next hand… Complaining about it will get you no where!